Our 11 Favorite Pet Heroes of 2021 Bravely Faced Trauma, Cancer, and Even an Alligator
Pets are heroes already for putting up with all our, uh, foibles, but there are several dogs and cats this year who went even further, saving the lives of both people and their animal brethren.
Their enemies range from snakes to trauma, from coronavirus to alligators. Our pets faced them all, proving yet again that we hardly deserve them. I know I wouldn't stand up well to anything like that.
Anyway, here are our 11 favorite pet heroes from 2021:
Astro Saves Owner from Medical Emergency
This smart dog knew his owner needed medical attention immediately, so he raised a ruckus with his barks. A passerby noticed him and his owner and was able to call paramedics, saving Astro's owner's life. Good boy.
A Hero Named Hero
This little guy was able to free himself from a house where he and other animals had been hoarded, allowing rescuers to free five other dogs who were trapped inside. After five long months, the well-named Hero finally found his forever home.
Long Live King Arthur
This domestic shorthair jumped between his small human siblings and an eastern brown snake, one of the deadliest animals in Australia. He sadly succumbed to his injuries after the attack.
New K-9 Officer Finds Missing Child in 5 Minutes
When Pepper the Dutch shepherd was asked to help find a missing child in small-town Iowa, she managed to located the kiddo in only 5 minutes—an amazing achievement for a dog who was barely 1 year old.
Duck Yeah, Beauty
The Roberts family's ducks generally didn't return Beauty the black Lab's affection, but that didn't stop her from saving them when an alligator attacked outside their Florida home. The reptile bit Beauty and broke her leg, but the hero pooch was still able to recover and return to her ducks.
MORE: This Hero Labrador Is Recovering After Saving Her Duck Friends From an Alligator Attack: 'It's Amazing'
Darling Doodle Digby
When a woman in England was considering taking her life on a bridge back in June, the local fire department deployed their therapy dog, a Labradoodle named Digby. He was able to assist in diffusing the situation and help the woman return to safety.
Oggy the Cancer Detector
Perhaps using his super-smelling nose, Oggy the cat kept trying to snuggle up against his owner's chest. Months later, his owner noticed a mass and was diagnosed with breast cancer. He seemed to have known what was there.
Buffy the COVID Hunter
Speaking of super smelling, Buffy the yellow Lab has spent much of her time on earth as a COVID-19 detection dog, keeping some of the most vulnerable—hospital patients—safe by screening visitors with an accuracy rate of 95 percent.
MORE: Meet Buffy, the Hero Scent Detection Dog Who's Sniffing Out COVID-19 Cases in a Florida Hospital
Therapy Dogs Assist Astroworld Survivors
The Astroworld tragedy in Houston left many of its survivors in shock or duress as they returned to the concert site to pick up their belongings. Thankfully, several therapy dogs from San Antonio were there to help them feel a little better.
Summer Saves Lives
Staff Sgt. Summer was an explosive-detection dog with the U.S. military in Afghanistan, saving an unknown number of lives. These days, she visits veterans and offers them love and comfort.
MORE: Staff Sgt. Summer Was a Military Working Dog Who Detected Explosives in Afghanistan. Now, She's Helping Veterans Heal.
An 8-month-old puppy became trapped beneath a boulder for 20 hours back in March. Thankfully, the golden retriever's mom was able to track her scent and help rescuers locate and eventually save her baby.